July 15, 2010, 11:41 AM

Customer reviews lead to changes at ShopNBC.com

The retailer lets the voice of the customer alter site design and content.

Lead Photo

Carol Steinberg, SVP of e-commerce, marketing and business development at ShopNBC

So just exactly what color is “Sunset”? And just how nicely will the sun set with the living room décor?

Unusual color names can leave online shoppers at a loss—and could result in a loss for the retailer. ShopNBC.com heard about this pickle loud and clear from its customers. And the vehicle for this important feedback was its customer ratings and reviews site feature.

“One thing we all struggle with is presenting colors accurately, whether it’s on a desktop PC or a mobile phone or different monitors. Customer reviews have made us pay great attention to color,” says Carol Steinberg, senior vice president of e-commerce, marketing and business development at ShopNBC.com, No. 89 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. “So we’ve expanded the way we describe a color to assist with just reading the name. ‘Sunset’ is a sexy way of describing a shirt or a rug. We add on the site that it is burnt orange. We also have added color disclaimers. In rugs there are color variations. We want to make the customer aware that what they are seeing is not necessarily what they will receive. So we try to be as descriptive as possible.”

Another issue that was discovered through careful examination by ShopNBC.com e-commerce and marketing staff of their customer reviews was size.

“We have a huge watch business. And it’s very hard to understand just how big a watch case is,” Steinberg says. “We have had a lot of returns because customers didn’t realize how big it would look on their wrists. So we just added a PDF file they can print out that includes the exact size of the watch, and they can cut it out and put it on their wrist before they order it. This will cut down on those returns. And this all came about from feedback in our customer reviews.”

Customer ratings and reviews are a critical component of e-commerce, she says. And moving forward they will become a key to the expanding mobile commerce efforts of ShopNBC.com.

“Right now we have the star rating for products in our mobile offerings,” Steinberg says. “Our strategy will be to include the full text of customer reviews in m-commerce, which should improve our mobile conversion.”

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